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Week of February 1, 2010

UM-Flint to recognize MCC’s American Sign Language courses

The list of states that have passed legislation recognizing American Sign Language (ASL) as a foreign language, and permitting high schools and universities to accept it in fulfillment of foreign language requirements for hearing as well as deaf students continues to grow.

UM-Flint is the latest university to officially join the list. On Jan. 27 UM-Flint signed an agreement with Mott Community College (MCC) to allow the transfer of ASL classes students take at MCC.

“We are so pleased to be partnering again with the University of Michigan-Flint on an agreement that highlights the importance of supporting the education and career development of our students,” says Amy Fugate, vice president for academic affairs at MCC. “MCC already enjoys an excellent reputation in the community for our American Sign Language and Interpreter Education Program. This partnership demonstrates another area of collaboration between the two colleges, recognizing ASL as a foreign language and providing students with an opportunity to receive academic credit toward foreign language requirements. This agreement is a significant step for both our colleges as we expand our mutual commitment to provide students with a seamless transition between institutions.”

“It was an inquiry from a student, Jill Maxwell, and the way she framed her request that led me to ask our college’s curriculum committee to do a study,” says D.J. Trela, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “An almost year-long study that included faculty forums, ultimately led to the faculty voting to add ASL.”

While Maxwell is not deaf, many of her family members are. She said all she wanted to know was why a bi-lingual student could fulfill the foreign language requirement by testing out, and the same treatment wasn’t given to a student who used ASL at home?

When she was told of the college’s decision she said she was happy for future students. “It will help support a continuation of the natural language of the deaf community,” Maxwell says.



Teresa Herzog Mourad, on her favorite part of her job: “I am constantly inspired by changes people make in their alcohol-related attitudes and behaviors.”